Oil crisis boosts aluminum auto parts use. There’s a silver lining in the escalating crude oil prices for the aluminum die casting industry. The high fuel prices has renewed consumer demand for lighter, more fuel efficient and environment-friendly cars, prompting the automotive industry to increase usage of aluminum auto parts.
Aluminum now ranks second behind steel among materials used in car manufacturing. Two years ago, the average aluminum content of cars worldwide has already reached close to 280 pounds, with the average in the North American auto industry even higher at an average of 319 pounds. The world average aluminum content of cars in 2002 has been estimated at 274 pounds and at 251 pounds, clearly indicating an uptrend which in the process had aluminum auto parts overtook plastic and iron in usage by the automobile industry.
Reducing the weight of the vehicle is among the primary avenues by which car manufacturers endeavor to reduce the automobile’s consumption of fuel and emission of greenhouse gases. Car Part designers estimate that a 10% weight reduction in automobiles could reduce fuel consumption by 6-8%. If the steel body of a car is changed to aluminum, weight could be reduced by 50%. This in turn would result in an estimated savings of 3,000 liters of fuel and gas emission reduction by 7,500 kilograms during the entire lifetime of the average car. The growing list of aluminum auto parts include instrument support panels, cylinder heads, engine blocks, wheels, front and rear bumper beams, side impact beams, engine sub-frame assemblies, suspension components, roof structures and closure panels.